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What to Expect From a Panel Interview

The definition of a panel interview is simply when more than one person interviews you at a single occasion. This group of people can include of several different employees of the company: your future boss, other managers, your future fellow team members, leaders of HR, or other key decision makers. You can encounter a panel interview in just about any field, including education, healthcare, and governmental jobs. The higher up your potential job, the more likely you’ll encounter a panel interview. Here are a few ways to prepare for this type of interview.

Find out who’s on the panel.

If you can, get the names and roles of all the people you’ll be interviewing with. Then, research them thoroughly. Social media should make this easier to do. If you can find their LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc., you’ll be able to learn a lot about their backgrounds and where they stand on issues. This not only helps you know how to better answer questions but also gives you a lot of topics you can small talk about. This social aspect of your conversation could go a long way in being memorable.

Find out what you’re going to talk about.

Once you know who is on the panel, you can also make some assumptions about what they may ask you. For example, if you’re interviewing for an IT position, but someone from marketing is a part of the panel, they may ask you about how the two departments support one another. Anticipate questions that may come from the interviewers just from their job titles. You’ll likely not know the exact questions you’ll be asked, so this is the best way you can address panel members’ individual concerns. You’ll also need to juggle answering multiple questions at one time, so be prepared.

Be mentally ready.

Interviews can be nerve-wracking enough without the added element of talking to multiple people at once. Before you go in, do some deep breathing or other exercises you know calms your nerves. That may mean walking around the parking lot for a few minutes before you go in. Have confidence that they called you in for an interview and look each panel member in the eye and shake their hands with this self-assuredness. Also, make sure you address each panel member individually when talking. Being nervous is natural, so give yourself a break and go in with a smile.

When faced with multiple eyes on you during a panel interview, it’s easy to feel the added pressure to nail the interview. But remember, you are interviewing them as well. You want to see if this company and its culture is a good fit for you. Come prepared with questions that allow you to figure out if this job is right for you too. Set the intention before heading in that you are on the same level as each panel member and you’re just having a conversation about your qualifications. This might help calm your nerves as well. And, after the interview, don’t forget to send each panel member a separate thank you note expressing your interest in the position.


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